Collected Poems of Henry Derozio: Preface by Manu Samriti Chander; Edited by Amardeep Singh

The Ruins of Rajmahal

No serf has lighted yon kiosk. 
There's no Muezzin in the Mosque, 
No vesper hymn, no morning prayer 
Shall be put up, or answered there , 
The sacred hall, the holy sod 
By unbelievers' feet are trod. 
And ruthless hands have reft away 
The marble that might mock decay!
No revel's held in yon Dulan
No priest from hallowed Al Koran 
A verse in solemn strain shall read, 
Nor faithful Moslem chaunt his creed, 
Where many a sage enthusiast 
Has worshipped — but that day is past! 
The weed is on the sable wall, 
That wild-dog's howling in the hall, 
The broken column's scatter’d by; 
And hark! the owlet's dismal cry 
Is driven through the lattice high;— 
A moonbeam's gleaming through the cleft 
That Ruin half reluctant left; 
Yet onward went he, and his march 
Is shown by what was once an arch, 
And many a shatter'd step, and stone 
   Where lights the foot with faltering tread, 
But sadly speak of what is gone. 
   As relics whisper of the dead 
These are like some celestial tone 
   Of music that undying fled. 
To which (though ne'er the hallow'd strain 
May e'en in echo wake again) 
   The memory is rivetted! 

I would not have the day return 
   That saw these wrecks in all their pride — 
As he who weeps o'er Beauty's urn 
   Feels what he felt not by her side, 
A gloom that gives to sorrow zest! 
A pang that's welcome to the breast! 

   The wave has bleached the buttress' base, 
Where but few stones have lost their place, 
Although the massive tenement 
   Is parted from itself — it stands: 
Majestic pile! Time never rent 
   A nobler work of mortal hands!  
The stranger, though no child of fame, 
Upon thy walls hath writ his name — 
O! would that he had left to thee 
A worthier, dearer legacy! 
How eloquent is all around! 
How all-surpassing mortal sound! 
There's music m the moonlit stream. 
There's beauty in the lunar beam. 
There's sacred stillness in each star 
That shines in cloudless skies afar, 
But most these very stones impart 
A lesson to the human heart. 
Perhaps they say to him whose gaze 
Is fixed on them, “In after days, 
“Such e'en may be thy hapless fate, 
"Forlorn — neglected — desolate!“ 
Their lot unshared, and sad, and lone, 
Perhaps reminds him of his own, 
Or bids him turn with fond regret 
To times he never can forget. 
When his was yet a tranquil mind. 
Whose memory's all that's left behind! 
These thoughts, like clouds, have gather'd o'er me — 
Enough of them — a wreck's before me 
Three marble columns still are there. 
That Desolation fail'd t'impair, 
Save these, each baseless pillar hath 
Well helped to pave the spoiler's path 

   On, stranger! on, nor start at things 
That mock the pride and power of kings — 
But Shoojah thought such hapless fate 
Could ne'er the golden Mosque await, 
Nor could the mighty monarch deem 
Its wreck would be the Poet's theme. 
Why should it not? My native land 
Is that which he did once command — 
And though her sons to fame are dead. 
Her spirit is not wholly fled; 
For while her rivers glisten sheen. 
And roll their fertile banks between, 
And while her mist-clad mouritains rear 
Their peaks, as if to pierce the sky. 
In memory’s page shall live the year 
Of glory that has long gone by — 
And while her fields shall flourish green, 
Some trace shall be of what has been, — 
Its image, though in darkness cast, 
A holy relic of the past, 
A dazzling meteor fleeting by. 
An Iris in a cloudy sky, 
A vesper breeze in summer shade, 
A sunbeam in the gloomy glade — 
A rose-bud in the wilderness!
   Farewell, ye wrecks! alas! ye wear 
The haggard wildness of despair, 
A darkness that beseems you well, 
A gloom that binds you like a spell; 
Yet e'en in this your day of ill, 
A halo circles round you still. 
And wakes a passion all may feel, 
That none can tell, nor yet conceal 
And there ye stand in mournful mood. 
Like woman in her widowhood. 
Farewell! how fallen is your crest! 
How sunk your pride! — but let that rest— 
Ye well the tears of grief beguile, 
I fain would linger yet awhile 
To gaze on you, but not unmoved — 
As lovers look on what they loved! 
This is my last, but it shall dwell 
Within my heart through life — Farewell! 

January, 1826 

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